Wednesday, 28 December 2011

The case for rail electrification to Hull

Last month it was announced that the Manchester to Leeds via Huddersfield Transpennine rail route would be electrified. It now seems clear that the Leeds to York section will also be electrified. Combined with existing and committed electrification, the north Transpennine Express route from Liverpool and Manchester Airport via Manchester, Leeds and York to Newcastle will be electrified, enabling conversion of the route to be operated by electric multiple units (EMU) instead of the current Diesel Class 170 Turbostar and Class 185 Desiro units.

However the current service pattern of North Transpennine services does not match this. Services currently serve 4 different eastern destinations: Newcastle, Middlesborough, Scarborough and Hull. So while Newcastle will maintain it's current Transpennine Express service, what happens to Middlesborough, Scarborough and Hull? Consideration is being made of electrification to these destinations, but with only one Transpennine Express service an hour to these destinations the benefits of doing so look weak, if considered purely in the context of Transpennine Express services.

If the Hull to Leeds line is not electrified, Hull risks loosing it's current Manchester service in favour of a truncated Hull to Leeds shuttle. At best would be a service to Manchester via the slower Calder Valley route via Bradford and Halifax. Either way Hull would loose out, as would the intermediate stations between Hull and Leeds served by Transpennine Express, principally Brough and Selby. So a case needs to be made to electrify the Hull to Leeds line. Fortunately for Hull (and unlike Scarborough) the Hull to Leeds route is used by more than just an hourly Transpennine Express service.

Reviewing the route from Leeds end, the section from Leeds station to Neville Hill depot in East Leeds is already electrified, and the section to Micklefield Junction, east of Garforth, will be electrified as part of the Leeds to York scheme. So in reality the case needs to be made for Micklefield Junction to Hull.

The first section to consider is Micklefield Junction to Hambleton Junctions, between South Milford and Selby. Hambleton Junction is where the Hull-Leeds route interacts with the East Coast Main Line (ECML). If the Micklefield to Hambleton Junction section is electrified, including the west to south curve at Hambleton onto the ECML, then a second electrified route from the ECML into Leeds is created. This would be very useful for diversions and/or enabling some scheduled London-Leeds services to route this way.

Staying on the subject of Hambleton Junction, if the North to East curve from the ECML onto the Hull-Leeds line is electrified then the hourly Hull to York service could be converted to EMU operation. On it's own I doubt this service would justify EMU's, but as part of a wider package maybe. A complicating factor would be that some Hull to York services actually route via Sherburn in Elmet, but here there would be two options; electrify the short section between Gascoigne Wood (east of South Milford) and Church Fenton (on the York-Leeds line) enabling Sherburn to be served by EMU's, or enhance the York-Pontefract-Sheffield service to act as replacement service for Sherburn.

Moving further East there is Selby. Between Leeds and Selby there are 2 services each hour; the Transpennine Express service to Hull and a stopping service. The stopping service currently starts back in Wakefield operating a 'Grand Tour' of West Yorkshire before ending up in Selby. However splitting the Leeds to Selby section from this would allow it to be operated by EMU's.

Selby also raises the possibility of electrifying the line from here to Temple Hirst Junction on the ECML. This would enable the conversion of all Hull to London services to EMU operation. This would save the existing practice of diesel's operating long distances on the electrified ECML. East Coast Trains would not need to use a diesel High Speed Train, or in the future a bi-mode Intercity Express to Hull - further undermining what in my opinion is a weak case for these bi-mode trains. First Hull Trains could also convert their operation to EMU's, though as an open access operator they could not be forced to do so.

Once again there is also diversionary uses for electrifying the Temple Hirst route. Ensure the Selby avoiding curve is included and the ECML has a new diversionary route between Hambleton and Temple Hirst Junction. Electrify the Sherburn route as discussed above and that diversionary route becomes Colton Junction, south of York, to Temple Hirst Junction.

So in summary the following services could be converted to EMU operation:
Hull-Leeds-Manchester Transpennine Express - Once per hour
Selby-Leeds stoping service - Once per hour
Hull-York - Once per hour
Hull-London - About every two hours
That is at least two services per hour over all sections of the Hull to Micklefield Junction route, including 2.5 services an hour between Hull and Selby. This would displace a significant number of diesel's such as sprinters, turbostars and desiros to replace pacer units, avoiding the need to order brand new diesels as replacements.

Furthermore there is also freight to consider. A lot depends of whether the destination at the other end of the route is also electrified, and the availability of an electric locomotive, but electrifying the Hull to Leeds line could include the Potter Group freight depot at Selby as well as sidings at Gascoigne Wood and nearby Milford. Potentially even Hull Docks if the connecting line to the docks was included in the electrification scheme.

Finally electrifying the Hull to Leeds line could also reduce the cost of complexity of future electrification, namely the Hull to Doncaster via Goole line. This route shares the Leeds route between Hull and Gilberdyke, so any future electrification would only need to cover Gilberdyke to Doncaster. If the Doncaster to Sheffield route was electrified, Gilberdyke to Doncaster would be an easy add-on, far easier and cheaper than Hull to Doncaster.

I'm no expert on costs, but the case for electrifing Hull to Micklefield Junction does seem strong in terms of the services which could use it. Plus politically investment in rail services to Brough might be a good move at the moment - and certainly the town won't want to be served by an inferior Manchester service.

Stagecoach 51 February Changes

From VOSA:

Variation Accepted: Operating between Grimsby Bus Station and Louth Bus Station given service number 51/51A/51B/51C effective from 20-Feb-2012. To amend Route and Timetable.

Monday, 26 December 2011

Vastly improved Europarc services for 2012

When, earlier in the month, I saw a snippet about improved services to the Europarc industrial estate, located off the A180 west of Grimsby, I expected a few extra journeys on current service 2. However operator Stagecoach Grimsby Cleethorpes have now announced full details, and the enhancements are quite significant and interesting. Plus it is not just Europarc that benefits, but two residential roads gain regular bus services for the first time in a few years. All changes come into effect from Tuesday January 3rd and are on weekdays only.

Starting with service 2. This currently operates hourly, with some afternoon gaps from Grimsby Bus Station via Victoria Street Tesco, Corporation Road and Gilbey Road to Europarc. However from January it will start at Riby Square and operate via Victor Street and Asda en-route to Grimsby Bus Station. The frequency will be hourly, with no more afternoon gaps.

This is the first regular bus service along Victor Street in a number of years. I have a service 7 timetable from 1987 which showed services between Riby Square and Bradley Cross Roads operating via Victor Street. I know the 7 continued until at least the late 1990's, possibly the early 2000's, but whether it stil served Victor Street then I am unsure.

In terms of services to Europarc though, the big boost comes from new service 1. This operates from Grimsby Bus Station via Lord Street to Europarc before extending through Great Coates to Wybers Wood Top. I guess the purpose of this extension is to offer Wybers Wood-Europarc links as well as providing an option to connect onto Immingham buses avoiding Grimsby Town Centre. Frequency is hourly with some afternoon gaps. Together with service 2 there are two buses per hour from Grimsby to Europarc, and a half hourly service in the return direction.

Service 1 actually isn't new. I'm not sure exactly when it ended previously, but I do have a North East Lincolnshire Bus and Rail Map from 2003 which shows service 1 and it's sister service 2 operating from Riby Square via Freeman Street, Hainton Avenue, Weelsby Road, Bargate and Grimsby Town Centre to Gilbey Road. Back then the 1 operated via Alexandra Road and Corporation Road and the 2 via Lord Street. In the 2012 version the services have swapped their previous routes with the 1 now serving Lord Street and the 2 Corporation Road. The new service 1 is also the first regular (i.e. not schools related) bus service to serve Lord Street since the old service 2 was withdrawn, as far as I am aware.

Finally existing early morning and evening service 20 from Cleethorpes and Grimsby Town Centre to Europarc is extended to Wybers Wood Top, following the route of service 1.

New timetable, including route map

Services 1, 2 and 20 recieve financial support from North East Lincolnshire Council and the European Regional Development Fund.

Saturday, 24 December 2011

(X)62 January Changes

As well as splitting the X62 Ridings Express (Hull-Goole-Leeds) into 3 separate sections (though no need to change buses), Stagecoach in Hull are making some changes to times from Tuesday 3rd January.

Monday to Friday

Current Departure Times from Hull: 0630 0930 1130 1530 1700
New Departure Times from Hull: 0630 0930 1200 1500 1700

Current Departure Times from Leeds: 0830 1130 1330 1730 1900
New Departure Times from Leeds: 0900 1200 1430 1730 1910


Current Departure Times from Hull: 0630 0830 1030 1230 1430 1630
New Departure Times from Hull: 0630 0930 1030 1200 1400 1500 1700

Current Departure Times from Leeds: 0830 1030 1230 1430 1630 1830
New Departure Times from Leeds: 0900 1200 1300 1430 1630 1730 1910

Sunday/Bank Holiday departure times are unchanged.

Turnaround times seem to be extended, in some cases 42 minutes at Leeds City Bus Station, which should avoid delays on inbound journeys being 'passed onto' outbound journeys. There is also an additional journey on Saturdays.

The service also seems to be renumbered 62.

Friday, 23 December 2011

X36 Funding Extended

A consortium of councils have agreed to continue funding York Pullman's X36 from Pocklington to York until March 2013. The service was started earlier this year after EYMS withdrew peak time commercially operated journeys on service 195.

Monday, 19 December 2011

Hornsby February 2012 Service Change

VOSA - Bus Registration Search Results: PB0001410/21 - HORNSBY TRAVEL SERVICES LTD, 51 - 53 ASHBY HIGH STREET, SCUNTHORPE, DN16 2NB
Variation Accepted: Operating between Scunthorpe Bus Station and Anncotts given service number 35 effective from 13-Feb-2012. To amend Route and Timetable.

Note the spelling mistake - the 35 terminates in Amcotts

Current timetable

Thursday, 15 December 2011

EYMS 103 returns

From Monday 16th January welcome enhancements will be made to services on the Hull City Centre-Beverley Road-Hull University-Cottingham corridor. This is currently served by the 105 operating every 20 minutes Monday to Saturday daytimes, half hourly Monday to Saturday evenings and hourly all day Sunday. Supplementing this is the university term time 102 (effectively a 105 duplicate) and nightbus 106. Some evening and Sunday X47 journeys also operate via this route en-route to York.

Extra services are to be added on the 102 between Hull University and The Lawns Halls of Residence to help prevent overcrowding. The current Wednesday variations are withdrawn, while no services will now serve Hull City Centre.

There will also be a new 103. Based on the timing points provided this service will operate via Spring Bank, Princes Avenue and Newland Avenue rather than Beverley Road between Hull City Centre and Hull University, then as a 105 to The Lawns.

On weekdays the 103 operates occasional journeys during the daytime (replacing the 102) and hourly in the evening. The evening journey's also operate on Saturdays and give 3 buses per hour from Cottingham into Hull combined with the 105. On Sunday daytimes the 103 will operate hourly, giving two buses per hour between The Lawns and Hull combined with the 105. The 103 only operates during University semester times.

However the 103 isn't actually brand new. Until the revised and simplified Cottingham Network was launched in 2005? it operates half hourly Monday to Saturday daytime from The Lawns via Cottingham Centre, Hull University, Newland Avenue, Queens Road and Beverley Road into Hull City Centre.

New 102/103/105 timetable (which seems to have 2 separate weekday timetables, one of which shows the 102 operating in the evening - hopefully to be cleared up with EYMS release the pdf timetable and press release)

Wednesday, 14 December 2011

Selby-Goole enhancements in the New Year

North Yorkshire County Council report enhancements to Arriva Yorkshire service between Selby and Goole from 16th January.

"Monday to Saturday the last two journeys from Selby at 1705hrs & 1810hrs will continue to Goole. The 1740hrs Goole to Selby will no longer operate but is replaced by 1800hrs and 190hrs from Goole to Selby"

The 1705 (Sat)/1720 (Mon-Fri) was curtailed in West Cowick in August 2010 and the 1810 was curtailed at West Cowick earlier that year. Reversing these enhancements is a welcome move.

Arriva Yorkshire Christmas/New Year 2011-12 Service Arrangements

Arrangements for Arriva Yorkshire services into East Yorkshire over Christmas and New Year:

Christmas Eve - Normal Saturday service
Christmas Day/Boxing Day - No service
Bank Holiday Tuesday 27th - Sunday service (routes served: 356/400/401)

Wednesday 28th-Friday 30th - Saturday service (so service 4 will not serve Howden and Goole)

New Years Eve - Normal Saturday service
New Years Day - No service
Bank Holiday Monday 2nd - Sunday service (routes served: 356/400/401)

Services in East Yorkshire affected are:
4 - Selby-Hemingbrough, with extensions to Howden and Goole on weekdays only
8/400/401 - Selby-Goole
356 - Goole-Swinefleet (Sundays and Bank Holidays only)

New EYMS 35A

EYMS have released full details of the replacement service for the 48 to Maplewood Avenue. To clarify this previous post, all 35's will still serve Willerby, with two daytime journey's in each direction diverting en-route via Maplewood Avenue. These services will be numbered 35A. As a result the 35 is no longer an even interval hourly service. Journey times from Willerby Parkway into Hull will also be slightly extended on diverted journeys.

Kirklands Road, currently served by the 48, will cease to be served by a bus service from January 8th, as the vehicles used on the 35 are too big to serve the road.

2012 to see improved Europarc services?

A very small snippet from page 24 of today's Grimsby Telegraph: "Plans for an extended bus service for Europarc will be announced in the new year". The Europarc industrial estate near Great Coates is currently served by Stagecoach Grimsby Cleethorpes, with the number 2 operating during the day from Grimsby Bus Station, and the 20 operating in the early morning and evening from Cleethorpes and Grimsby.

Current timetable

Tuesday, 13 December 2011

EYMS A63/M62 Corridor Changes

EYMS have today registered with VOSA various service changes/cancellations/registrations that seems to relate to the A63/M62 Corridor Service Review earlier this year. I'm struggling to copy and paste the the reigistrations but here is a summary:

Registrations Being Amended:
144 - Elloughton to Beverley
151/152 - Hull to Willerby
152/153 - Hull to Gilberdyke
155/155A - Hull to Goole
X4 Market Weighton to York
X55/X56/X57 - Hull to Howden

Registrations Being Cancelled:
156 - Ferriby to Goole

New Registrations:
X4 Brough to Market Weighton
X55 Elloughton to Goole

All changes are from February 5th.

While VOSA terminus points aren't always accurate, it would appear the X4 Wictsun Express from Market Weighton to York will now start in Brough, while the X55 Petuaria Express from Hull to Gilberdyke will extend to Goole.

Monday, 5 December 2011

Festive service arrangements

Now the region's two main operators have released details of their festive service arrangements, some thoughts:

Boxing Day

Boxing Day seems to be becoming an increasingly popular shopping day, and bus companies (or is it local councils?) are responding accordingly. In the Humber region it seems Grimsby is being left behind as Hull and Scunthorpe have basic networks in place. Would it be worth taking a risk in Grimsby next year - any network would also be boosted by Boxing Day visitors to Cleethorpes. Perhaps just an hourly service on Stagecoach's 9/13/14 and see what happens?

In the case of Hull, is it also time to be going beyond the Hull City boundary more? Cottingham and Willerby have Boxing Day buses, but Hessle does not. Again is it worth trying an hourly service. What about Beverley as well, or Barton (if the Humber Fastcat ran on Boxing Day it may well get me as a user at least). Though of course move outside the city boundary, and I doubt Hull City Council will be offering significant financial support - which perhaps explains the current network.

New Years Eve

It would seem the relatively recent introduction of New Years Eve evening and nightbuses in Hull is working well, with additional services this year. Hopefully further improvements will be possible in future years.

New Years Day

Less shops are open on New Years Day than Boxing Day, but it would be nice to see a very basic network to serve those shops and leisure attractions that are open - and hospitals. Plus I suspect Cleethorpes sees a few visitors.

The weird thing about New Years Day is that trains run almost as normal. Unless New Years Day is on a Sunday, I could catch a 8am-ish train from Barton to Cleethorpes, spend 12 hours at the seaside and catch a 9pm-ish return home. Better than a normal Sunday!

As a final comment, many bus drivers and support staff, and people in other industries, want time off over Christmas, which is understandable. Yet remember not everyone does. Some would quite happily work for personal reasons. Some will work for the money. Hopefully those that want to work can, and those that don't can take time off.

Festive period improvements (mostly) for Stagecoach in Hull

Stagecoach in Hull have released details of their Christmas/New Year service plans. This year sees mostly improved services, which is to be welcomed. Before I go into detail on this, here is the festive period service pattern:

Christmas Eve - Normal Saturday service with early finish
Christmas Day - No service
Boxing Day - Special services (see below)
Bank Holiday Tuesday 27th - Enhanced Sunday service

Wednesday 28th-Friday 30th - Saturday service including nightbuses

New Years Eve - Saturday service with early finish, then special timetables on selected routes
New Years Day - No service
Bank Holiday Monday 2nd - Sunday service

Stagecoach leaflet

Boxing Day daytime provision is as follows (2010 in brackets):
1 (Boothferry Estate) - hourly (hourly)
2 (Boothferry Estate) - hourly (hourly)
13 (Orchard Park) - half hourly (hourly)
14 (Orchard Park) - half hourly (hourly)
15 (Orchard Park/Kingswood) - half hourly (hourly)
28b (Sutton Park/North Point) - hourly (hourly)
30 (North Point/North Bransholme) - hourly (hourly)
32 (North Point) - hourly (hourly)
41a (Greatfield, via Holderness Road) - hourly (hourly on service 42)
43 (Greatfield) - hourly (hourly)
51/51b (North Point/Kingswood) - 2 buses per hour to North Point, hourly to Kingswood (hourly 51, no 51b)
54 (Bilton Grange) - hourly (hourly)

So double the frequency this year for the 13/14/15 and most of the 51 route

Moving onto Bank Holiday Tuesday 27th. Last year both Bank Holidays the 27th and 28th saw a normal Sunday service, but this year the following routes gain extra frequencies for all or part of the daytime compared to a normal Sunday service:
1 (Boothferry Estate)
2 (Boothferry Estate)
13 (Orchard Park)
14 (Orchard Park)
28 (Sutton Park/North Point)
30 (North Point/North Bransholme)
32 (North Point)
43 (Greatfield)
51b (North Point)
All other routes see normal Sunday service levels

On the 28th-30th this year Nightbuses will operate, and to their Saturday timetable. In past years Nightbuses have not operated on Mondays to Thursdays between Christmas and New Year, just like any other Mon-Thu.

Now for New Years Eve evening which sees significant increases, with 2010 services in brackets:
1/2/N2 (Boothferry Estate/Hessle) - hourly service on the 1/2 until midnight, then half hourly N2 (half hourly N2 from 2100)
13a/13b/N13 (Orchard Park) - hourly 13a/b until midnight, then hourly N13 on a route that does not normally receive nightbuses (2010, no service)
N15 (Orchard Park/Kingswood) - hourly evening 15/half hourly N15 after midnight (hourly N15 from 2030)
28 (Sutton Park/North Point) - hourly service until 2210 (2010, no service)
32/N32 (North Point) - hourly evening 32, hourly N32 (hourly N32 from 2035)
43/N43 (Greatfield) - hourly evening 43/half hourly N43 (hourly N43 from 2105)
51/N51 (North Point/Kingswood) - hourly evening 51/half hourly N51 (houtly N51 from 2100)
54 (Bilton Grange) - hourly evening 54 (was served by N43 in the evening)

Sadly this post ends on a negative. No New Years Day services will operate this year.

No doubt at least some of this years changes are down to Hull City Council funding.

All comparisons based on last year's post

Stagecoach Grimsby Cleethorpes Christmas/New Year 2011-12 Services

Stagecoach Grimsby Cleethorpes this year have released details on their Christmas/New Year period service arrangements:

Christmas Eve - Normal Saturday service with early finish
Christmas Day - No services
Boxing Day - No services
Bank Holiday Tuesday 27th - Sunday service

Wednesday 28th-Friday 30th - Saturtday service except the following services which will run to a weekday timetable:
2 (Grimsby-Europarc)
3 (Grimsby-Lincoln)
25 (Grimsby-Ludford)
51 (Grimsby-Louth)
150 (Grimsby-East Halton)
366 (Ulceby-Brigg)

New Years Eve - Saturday service with early finish
New Years Day - No services
Bank Holiday Monday 2nd - Sunday service

Stagecoach leaflet (Note to Stagecoach again this year, the 250/450 have identical weekday and Saturday timetables. Why complicate your leaflet more than necessary telling customers they will operate a weekday rather than Saturday service on the 28th-30th?)

Boxing Day Buses for Scunthorpe

New for 2011, Scunthorpe will have a limited bus service on Boxing Day. Stagecoach will operate the 31A/32A town service circular routes on an hourly basis during the daytime. Otherwise the usual Christmas/New Year service pattern is in place:

Christmas Eve - Normal Saturday service with an early finish
Christmas Day - No service
Boxing Day - Special service on the 31A/32A as mentioned above. No other services
Bank Holiday Tuesday 27th - Sunday service

Wednesday 28th-Friday 30th - Normal Service

New Years Eve - Normal Saturday service with early finish
New Years Day - No service
Bank Holiday Monday 2nd - Sunday service

Stagecoach leaflet